Tuesday, December 10, 2013

P5/11 Discovering the Identity of Jesus - Mark's Gospel Identity of Jesus - The King who came to serve and be a Ransom

Matthew 16:15 "He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Note to the reader: These next several posts are designed to present a cultural, historical and theological study of Jesus Christ and the facts behind the crucifixion.  In yesterday's post we considered Matthew's Gospel Identity of Jesus as King and Lord. I have chosen to present this material partly in response to the History Channel's recent series: "Bible Secrets Revealed" and partly to give the readers of this blog a chance to see what the Four Gospels truly say about Jesus Christ.  

This particular series of blogs are more concerned with explaining the contents and validity of the four Gospel accounts, with today's post featuring Mark's Gospel Identity of Jesus as the King whom came to serve and be a ransom. 


Lesson Two: Mark’s Gospel’s identity of Jesus – The servant, King over the Kingdom 

1.  Mark’s gospel gives more of a fast paced and high powered look at the miracles and power of Jesus.  He casts out demons, raises the dead and heals sicknesses, demonstrating that by His arrival the very presence of God has ushered in the beginning of the closing of human history.

2. The picture of Isaiah’s servant in chapters 42-57 of his book discuss and progressively reveal as mysterious figure who would bring the light of hope to the very land Jesus was preaching and who would act as God and for God in bringing about healing, deliverance and forgiveness of sins.

3. Mark’s writing focuses more intently on what is called “The Kingdom of God”.  With Matthew, the Kingdom of God is spoken about in terms of its purpose and nature, while with Mark’s writing it is spoken of in terms of its presence and nearness.[1]

4.  So what exactly is meant by the idea of God’s kingdom?

a). Having a Kingdom implies that God has personal involvement in the affairs of this world.  He did not just make this world and leave it to run like a clock.

b). Kingdom implies that there is a specific domain, wherein we are the objects and God is the supreme Subject.

c). Jesus in both Matthew and Mark teaches that the Kingdom is not of this world, and that in order to be a true citizen or partaker of it, one must “repent and come to a knowledge of the truth (Mark 1:15) – i.e it is (for now) primarily spiritual in nature.  The day of course will come when Jesus returns and the Kingdom unseen now will become completely manifest and Christ Himself will reign on this planet for 1,000 years. (Mark 13 & Revelation 20)

d). Having a Kingdom means that God has a representative that shares both His nature in having the authority to rule and reign over everything as well as a human nature in being able to relate to the subjects of the kingdom.  Jesus Christ reveals that He has been given authority over all things (Matthew 28:16) and that He is the Servant having the humanity to relate to those who choose to partake of this kingdom (Mark 10:45).

5. In Mark 10:45 we see what many consider the key verse of Mark's Gospel: "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

6. According to church history, Mark recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit the collection of Peter’s sermons on the life of Jesus as Peter himself, under the revelation of God, dictated it to Mark.[2]

1. Can God, being holy and infinite, come down to us as He is? Why or why not?

2. Does God’s setting up of a mediating structure such as His kingdom speak more to His desire to be with us, our inability to come to Him on basis of our good deeds, or both? Explain your answer.


[1] That there is a link between Matthew’s gospel, Mark’s Gospel and Luke’s Gospel is no accident.  Though each was an independent effort in recounting Jesus life under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Matthew’s gospel is believed to have been the first one written.  Mark, taking dictation from the apostle Peter, would had most likely had a copy of Matthew to use as a guide to corroborate what Peter was saying.  Then Luke would had used these resources along with what God spoke through the mouth of the Apostle Paul in writing His gospel.  This process by which the first three gospels came about is what is referred to as the synoptic problem.  For further discussion on this issues, the reader can consult David Alan Black’s “Why the Four Gospels”, as well as Merrill Tenny’s “Survey of the New Testament”.

[2]  David Alan Black. Why Four Gospels – The Historical Origins of the gospels. Kregel. Grand Rapids. 2001. Page 77.  This is a common pattern in the Bible for God to speak His words or thought through the mouth of the prophet or apostle, and in turn have a scribe write them down (compare the prophet Jeremiah and Baruch; Apostle Peter and Silvanus)

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